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  1. SiseFromm

    Dinner! 2008

    This isn't so much what I made for dinner last night, but I just found these pics on my camera and I thought I would throw them up for posterity's sake. We did caviar service as a start to our Christmas Eve meal. It was glorious and luxurious. There were 8 of us sharing a 5 oz. tin of Tsar Nikolai American Estate Osetra Caviar with fresh Yukon Gold Blinis and an egg salad featuring sifted eggs, minced red onion, chives, and whipped creme fraiche. We paired the caviar with Polish vodka on ice. Talk about a pure luxury. Enjoy.
  2. I love Jamie's sensible, direct from the ground approach to cooking. The flavors are huge and clean and simple but manage to offer intrigue and sophistication all at the same time. It's proper British sensibility mixed with a lot of influence from Italy. Gorgeous stuff I say and I'm sure, with a little help from my own farmer's market, I'll be re-creating a lot of these dishes.
  3. I've always felt the portions were a bit big, but that's Florent. He always give you plenty of food! I've got to get over there. I've been meaning to. That's David Meyers' new joint, yeah? Interestingly, he was invited along with a major list of heavy hitters (Boloud, Keller, Adria, Blumenthal, etc.) to cook at the Charlie Trotter anniversary dinner. He must have been beside himself to work with all those killer chefs at such an amazing event. Did you hear about Heston Blumenthal's ocean dish that was accompanied by an iPod mini playing sounds of waves crashing?!? Crazy!
  4. I fear the lack of review by RJ might suggest an underwhelming experience? Hmm . . .
  5. Hello all. I pretty much dropped off the planet at the end of December for a much needed break from work. During that time, we cooked. A lot. And drank wine. A lot of it. Bottles that made appearances include 1996 Dom, 2003 & 2005 Saxum Rocket Block, 1996 Krug, 1982 Chateau Beychevelle, 2006 Mollydooker “Carnival of Love”, several single vineyard Pax Syrahs from various vintages, ancient Diamond Creek, a vertical of Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon, plus magnums of 1994 Shafer Hillside Select, 2005 Orin Swift Prisoner, and 2004 Buccella. I know there were more. I've got boxes heading to the recycling center to prove it, but these are the most memorable. But I digress. The point is, we went to Crow Bar a few times. Three to be exact. Twice for dinner with different friends plus once for brunch just after Christmas. What can I say? They're doing good work there. Great work actually. We met RJ, their lead server and definitely the guy you want working with you. Request his section and leave a nice big fat tip if the service is awesome, which it will be. The guy is a book of knowledge and can point out nuances of every beer in their impressive draught list (including a few beers not listed he'll be glad to taste you on if you're asking the right questions). I won't go into details for each of our three sessions, because quite frankly, I don't remember that far back and my mind was fuzzy as it was. I do know, however, you should definitely order the Coq au Vin special if it's available. And the blue cheese stuffed piquillo peppers. And the roasted bass with preserved lemon. And for breakfast I'd recommend the sticky buns and the eggs florentine with grilled bread and creamed spinach. And the beer. Lots of it. Glorious pours from rare producers. I don't know the spelling, but try the "Maudique" from France. I'm sure that's the incorrect spelling but it's pronounced MAH-DEEK and I'm not even sure it's printed on the regular beer list.
  6. I'm not sure if they provide service as far south as San Francisco, but on our last trip, we booked with Magnum Tours on our last trip.
  7. Ughh . . . no kidding! There's something to be said about ordering the right drink in the right environment. A high-end steakhouse? A nice cold martini. A Mexican restaurant? A margarita. Japanese beer or Sake seem to be appropriate for Sushi. A pub? Umm . . . maybe a beer? As in, they spent a ton of time and energy putting a nice list of draft and bottle beer together, specifically designed to compliment the food? Maybe you might want to skip the "Cosmopolitan", and go for a wheat beer.
  8. Amen. My experiences mirror this exactly. Apparently, being annoyed by the patrons at Crow Bar isn't something exclusive to me.
  9. Fresh pasta really doesn't take a lot of hard-heat cooking and I don't think a rapid boil is required. The simmer cooked the pasta completely and fully warmed the interior filling. We used salted water as usual but the water was at a nice, gentle bubble. I dropped them in carefully and let them simmer for around 2 - 3 minutes. I was careful to keep them from hitting and sticking to the bottom so as not to tear or rip the pasta. I used a regular pasta recipe which ran at 2 cups all-purpose flour to 2 whole eggs and a little bit of olive oil. I make pasta using the well method and slowly working in flour into the egg. Once the dough comes together I knead it for several minutes by hand until the dough is ready to be kneaded by hook in a standing mixer for another 10+ minutes. I used a whole egg to one tablespoon of water, whisked together. I only brushed the edges of one pasta pyramid at a time. The trick was to work quickly, push out as much air as possible, and let the pasta set and the egg wash "glue" completely dry before trimming the edges with the pasta cutter.
  10. p.s. - If there's any complaint I have about Crow Bar, it isn't about the food, location, ambiance , or service . . . it's really about the people. I just remembered how aggravating the customers in Corona Del Mar can be. Self-entitled, self-absorbed, and generally annoying. I won't go into the details about the people that rudely try to box us out as the bar began filling quickly after 6:30pm. Beautiful assholes I can do without, but I'll brave the waters anyway because the food is worth it.
  11. We stopped by Crow Bar again, this time arriving early enough (5:30pm) to snag a spot at the bar in the corner. I generally prefer bar seating when dining out anyway, but at a pub of sorts like Crow Bar it just seems like a natural choice. Commensurate with our first experience, the food and beer were both great. I also took some time to look into their wine list. Most of the bottles appeared to be interesting or new in some way and were generally priced at $35 - $75. There were only a dozen or so that topped out above the $100 mark so they're obviously hoping to push through moderately priced bottles at service. I was happy to see a focus on Rhone and Burgundian whites. It's rare, with Rhone specifically, to see 6 - 8 bottles of white listed out as a separate category from the rest of the list. Holly had Clam Chowder to start and it was a smart choice. Rather than creamy or gluey chowder, a light and briny broth arrived spiked with white wine and adorned with all of the deconstructed components of chowder. There were perfectly diced potatoes, a few whole steamed clams, crispy bits of bacon, and a light herb garnish. The overall presentation offered a light and jazzy version of traditional chowder. I only wish the potatoes were cooked a bit further as they had too much of an al dente center for my liking. For dinner Holly had the Classic Hamburger with Sweet Potato Fries and I had the Fish & Chips. The burger was great. Juicy, seasoned well, and nicely proportioned. The burger wasn’t huge or overwhelming like some burgers at restaurants can be. I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet potato fries because they just don’t have the starch quality Russets have that allow for that proper crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. With sweet potatoes, the interior is more mushy that I dig, but it’s nice to have a bit of sweetness nonetheless. I really loved my fried fish. Three small filets of cod were nestled in with the fries in a paper-lined cone, served with a curry-spiked tartar sauce. The exterior of the fish was nearly mahogany brown but was delicate and crispy, not over-cooked or heavy. The batter was awesome and the fries, perhaps because they weren’t cooked in duck fat, were better than the first set of fries we ordered on our first visit. I liked the nod to British culture with the addition of curry to a traditional tartar sauce. Great. We had the Sub-Pop Tart with Seasonal Fruit. It was nice and a cool concept, but there was just too much pastry for us. It could easily feed four hungry dessert orders. The pastry was golden brown, iced, and finished with colorful sprinkles. The Pop Tart was accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love the concept and playfulness of the dessert, but it was just too much and too rich. All in all, it was another nice stop and I feel lucky we have it in our community. It’s like a larger and more service-oriented Father’s Office just off PCH within 5 miles from my house. Rock on.
  12. As I mentioned, we did a great job of capturing the production process, but we failed to shoot the finished dish. This was a pasta course so each diner received one filled pyramid in the center of a shallow bowl. I added gremolata ingredients into a butter foundue (beurre monte) and simmered the mixture at low heat just to warm the garlic. The gremolata butter was spooned over and around the pyramid then I used reduced braising liquid to accent the sauce.
  13. The Boulevard Restaurant Cookbook has an interesting recipe for a trio of veal (Cheeks in Ravioli, Osso Bucco, and Roasted Tenderloin). The ravioli shape really interested me because it was basically a pyramid of sorts filled with luscious and rich ingredients. I decided to give it a whirl. In their version, the ravioli triangles/pyramids are filled with a base of creamed spinach and a small square of braised veal cheeks. For ours we used the creamed spinach (fresh spinach wilted with onions then simmered in cream and seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg) and braised beef shortribs (shortribs braised in red wine, veal stock, and a ton of aromatics for several hours) in lieu of the veal cheeks. What follows is a step by step photo guide for making these interesting pasta shapes: 1) Fresh rolled pasta (rolled to the 7 setting on the roller) cut into 4.5" squares. 2) One tablespoon of creamed spinach goes into the center and is topped with a small square of trimmed shortribs. The squares are then brushed with an egg wash along the edges. 3) Bring opposite corners together and press along the edges to seal. 4) Once the eggwash has dried and the pasta edges are glued and sealed together, gently hold the filled pasta along the edge of a cutting board to trim the edges with a fluted pasta cutter. 5) The finished pasta are ready to go. It's important, as with any filled pasta, to make sure they're held on a floured surface and that they do not rip, tear, or have holes in them. For cooking, rather than throw these delicate packages into a big pot of heavily boiling water, we gently submerged them in lightly simmering and salted water in a large, 3" deep pan. For service I simply garnished the raviolis with butter fondue enriched with the basic components of gremolata (minced parsley, minced garlic, and lemon zest) and some of the reduced braising liquid. Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos of the presented dish. That might have something to do with the bottle of wine we had under our belts by service.
  14. So how was it? Any details you want to divulge?
  15. SiseFromm


    I read that review this morning over a cup of coffee. I found the review to be interesting and the wine program sounds really exciting. I love anybody that would actually keep sediment from a bottle of 1978 Petrus on hand at the restaurant. Unfortunately our dance card is full through the end of 2007 so I don't think I'll make it until January or February.
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